COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (Tuesday, December 10, 2013) – Colorado Rapids legend Pablo Mastroeni announced his retirement on Tuesday, ending his sixteen-year career in Major League Soccer. Mastroeni played for the Rapids from 2002-2013 and served as the team captain for eight years, including the 2010 season that saw the Rapids win their first ever MLS Cup.
“After 16 amazing years in MLS, I have decided that now is the time to step away from the game as a player,” said Mastroeni. “I would like to thank all my friends and family, especially my mother, father and brother for helping me pursue this dream, my wife Kelly for all of her understanding, and my kids, Luca and Giuliana, for making me realize what is bigger than soccer. I have been lucky to cross paths with so many kindred spirits, from teammates to opponents, coaches and staff, and especially fans; MLS gave us the opportunity to grow through soccer here in the United States. I am indebted to all the coaches I've had in my life, who influenced me to become a mentor to the next generation of players in this country. Finally, thanks to the Colorado Rapids and their wonderful fans for providing me the best years of my career, and the faith they showed in me to help bring an MLS Cup to Colorado.”
Mastroeni on Rapids Appearance Record
Colorado’s most decorated player, Mastroeni was named to the MLS All-Star Team in his first seven years with the club (2002-2008), and earned Rapids MVP honors in 2007, 2008 and 2010. He currently holds club records for most games played (225), games started (217) and minutes played (18,669), and served as the Rapids captain from late 2004 until his trade to the LA Galaxy during the 2013 season.
“Pablo’s contributions to the club can’t be overstated, and we all want to thank and honor him for his service to the Rapids,” said Technical Director Paul Bravo. “Pablo was a true competitor on the field, and over his time with Colorado, we all saw what a powerful impact he had on his teammates and on the fans. He’s one of the true greats of American soccer and will always be a Colorado Rapids legend.”
“Everyone at the Rapids and at Kroenke Sports & Entertainment is proud of Pablo for the remarkable career that he has called to a close,” said Rapids President Tim Hinchey. “On behalf of the Kroenke family, KSE and the Rapids, we want to thank Pablo for his efforts on and off the field for not only Colorado but for U.S. Soccer as well. We look forward to honoring him and at a special ceremony next season.”
Mastroeni came to MLS with the Miami Fusion as the 13th overall selection in the 1998 MLS College Draft after a standout four-year career at North Carolina State. In four years with Miami, Mastroeni appeared in 100 regular season games, made two MLS All-Star teams, and earned a spot on the MLS Best XI in 2001 while helping the Fusion to the Supporters’ Shield with the league’s best regular season record. He joined the Rapids in the 2002 MLS Allocation Draft after Miami was contracted, and played in 13 seasons with Colorado before a trade to the LA Galaxy in June of 2013, where he finished his playing career. In total, Mastroeni played 334 MLS regular season matches, eighth most in MLS history, and 27,522 minutes, fifth on the all-time list and second among non-goalkeepers.
Also a veteran with the United States National Team, Mastroeni made 65 appearances for his country over the course of nine years. The holding midfielder played in both the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups, playing three games at the 2002 World Cup in Japan/Korea as the U.S. reached the quarterfinals, and two more at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Mastroeni was also a member U.S. squad in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2007, helping the United States win the tournament in 2005 and 2007, while also appearing in the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2003. Mastroeni made his National Team debut in a friendly against Ecuador in June 2001 and made his final appearance in June 2009 in a World Cup Qualifying victory over Honduras.
Mastroeni will be honored by the Colorado Rapids at one of the club’s 2014 home matches, with more information to be released ahead of the event. The Rapids will begin the 2014 season on March 9 at San Jose, with the first match at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park against the Portland Timbers on March 22.